View Full Version : I think I Found my donor machine.

10-05-2007, 11:38 AM
I've been wanting to build a cnc plasma for about 5 years but it just hasn't been possible (built a house etc first).

Well I've just discovered that I have many of the parts sitting in my server room from a robotic tape library that we dont use anymore. So my goal is to pillage the parts from that guy to build the table.

My starting machine is a Adic Scalar 1000.

This machine has a 5'x2' XY gantry that I will modify to 5'x10'. It has 2 Advanced Motion Controllers and 2 Brushless servos with optical encoders. It's belt driven currently. (I would like to retain this if possible as it will make the build alot easier.)

Anyway here are some pics of the donor hardware.

The motors are Hathaway motors but I dont know what size they are.





Mess of existing computer stuff to controll this thing. (not sure what all i can use for the table)

Anyway this seems like a good base to build from. I have 2 of these units. 1 is still in production and this one just sits there in the way.

Do you all have any recommendations? It also has power supplies etc so I should be good there.

Any idea on what size those motors are? They are about 3-4" in Dia.

Will the belt driven setup work ok for a start? I would like to start with what I have then modify it later if I need to.

Here is a link to some more pictures.


Thanks, I think this will be a fun project.

10-10-2007, 10:26 AM
this does look like it would be a good starting point for a cnc plasma. however, i just took the plunge into my first one as well.....only thing i would say is that without knowing what size motors you have, keep everything that will be moving as light as possible and don't expect a speed demon. anyway, good luck and i'll be keep up with it as you go along.

10-12-2007, 10:34 PM
The machine is pretty fast right now(still runs) and considering its actually gotta move the tape puller arm (pretty heavy actually) up and down fighting gravity. I figure in a week or so I will bring the cabinet home and pull it apart finding out what i really have and what I need to buy.

I'm planning on buying a hypertherm or thermal dynamics cutter that might ge me 1" max cut.

I have an elcheapo plasma cutter but it uses HF to start the arc and I've read that this will really interfere with the electronics.

Is there a max length anybody recommends running for a cogged v-belt on a table?


10-12-2007, 11:31 PM
Here is (1) example of a notched belt machine. Your "donor machine" looks like the belt is a continuous loop. The one shown here is a single length stretched out & anchored on each end. The stepper then travels the length of the belt.


If memory serves me Weldtutor actually used chain drive. I posted the above link because it was the first example I could find. I think you can find others.

Take time to browse all the different table builds at: Plasma, EDM and other similar machine Project Log Also check out all the router tables. Lots of great ideas there too.

11-05-2007, 09:42 PM
OK a small update. I ordered the plasma torch today. I got a Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 101. Now I'm on the hunt for the 2 belts I need and I need to order some SkyKo P100's for the drivers. I also started cleaning up the shop to make some space for this thing.

11-08-2007, 10:55 AM
Another update. (no pics yet) I started taking the machine apart last night and I have 2 Celectica power supplies. 1 is 48v and 1 is 24v. Evidently Celectica bought Ascent Power and sells these units now. I haven't been successful in finding any documentation on the units because when i go to www.ascentpower.com I get an ITN website and the celestica website doesn't seem to informative just sales related.

Also found my sync belts from McMaster Carr. I'm thinking I will do a 5x10 table since I already have a 5' wide gantry and I have to extend the runners up the table anyway.

One question. Has anybody ever tilted their table on an angle to save some floor space? I've been thinking about this and the only downside I've found is the motor might have to work a little hard to move the cutter up the table. Also you couldn't do a standard water table but I think you could do a waterfall type solution where the water was pumped to the top then ran down covering the back with a small sheet of water.

Anyway just ideas I'm throwing around.

Also ordered my Pixies from Skyko which is one large link in the chain.


11-09-2007, 04:51 PM
Well here is my start for the table. I am going to draw up the base this weekend so I can order some steel.

Powersupplies, Drivers, Motors and gantry system.

I have to find a replacement for the Y axis guide rail since that one is only 2 ft long.

Here are some pics of the Y I have to refabricate.

The gantry again

Anybody know where I might be able to find some slotted steel similar to the Y Axis rail I already have to replace?

More pics here http://picasaweb.google.com/lucentglow/CNCTable


03-05-2009, 01:15 AM
OK this thread is dead and old so time for an update. I've spent some time collection parts and the gantry parts from a robotic tape library seem to be a great start. I opted for the easy route and called Tom for his Dragon Cut CNC kit which makes that part much easier.

This update covers about 5 evening worth of work over the past 2-3 weeks. The base of the gantry support is built using 1.5" and 1" sq stock. The gantry was adapted from the old robotic tape libraries to the support table. The stepper motors from CandCNC.Com were adapted to the Gantry using Aluminum plates. I then built an adapter for the Z axis to attach to the slide I bought about a year ago. More in the Original Post In the link or Below..

After doing all of the above I adapted the Z axis so it would fit on the Y axis slider. This was done by drilling some holes for some "Alignment" pins and some M6 1.0 Metric machine screws. Once all this was done I installed the belt tensioner and belt on the X axis slide and pulled the belt and noticed some deflection on the far end of the X axis so I decided I was going to have to install a Jack Shaft that would drive the other side simultaneous to the near side with the motor on it. The nice thing about this jack shaft is it has a ~2:1 gear reduction on it if the stepper has trouble doing a 1:1 drive. So I made some adapters for the Jack Shaft and installed them so I could still apply tension to the belt. On the far side I had to add a tensioner on the far end so I had to modify the frame a little to handle that.

Now the motors are mounted and the jackshaft and belts installed. I got the Belting stock from McMaster Carr. Now the next step is to hookup the PC running Mach3 and all the Gecko drivers etc so I can test some of the functionality. After that I will finish weld this part and start the support table to hold the steel and the water table to keep the dust down.

Here are the pics.


Motors adapted and gantry just sitting on frame.










Thanks for looking.

03-05-2009, 02:41 AM
So, you said you had to find a replacement for the Y rail, (or is it the x rail?) did you fabricate the new rail, and mount two rods for the rollers?:confused:

03-05-2009, 09:49 AM
Actually I had 2 of these robotic libraries and both had a ~5' rail and a shorter 2.5' rail. So I decided heck a ~5x5 table is more than enough for my shop so I just used the two longer rails. The only part related to the gantry i've had to buy was the Z axis and the longer belting to drive the X axis from both ends. Heck the tape libraries even had the jack too..

03-10-2009, 07:38 PM
Welp the gantry lives...
YouTube - Mach 3 CNC Table Milestone 1.

Still have to add gussets for support, tie the plasma into it, wire in the limit switches, finish weld it and build a water table to hold the material.